Kumottari, Kagayaitari, Mata Itsuka Utattari (Being cloudy, shining, singing again someday): Tari Tari Special Review
February 25, 2015
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“Selfish persons are incapable of loving others, but they are not capable of loving themselves either.” —Erich Fromm
The Tari Tari Special is a seven-minute special is titled Kumottari, Kagayaitari, Mata Itsuka Utattari (曇ったり、輝いたりまたい、つか歌ったり; Being cloudy, shining, singing again someday) and features a new song, “Itsumademo Kagayaki wo” (Shining Forever) sung by the members of the Choir-and-sometimes-Badminton Club (Wakana, Konatsu, Sawa, Taichi and Wein). This special is exclusive to the complete Blu-Ray Box Set, which costs 28000 yen (295 CAD), and features a special 100-page booklet, a commentary track by the voice actors, and even the footage from the September 2012 event “Shirahamazaka Koukou Kanshasai” (Shirahamazaka High School Thanks Festival). The Tari Tari Special itself deals with Wakana, Konatsu, Sawa, Taichi and Wein as the Christmas season approaches, as they decide how to spend the Christmas holidays. Before the holidays can start, the group decides to clean out their club room and encounter some other third years in the music department. Upon returning home, Sawa shares another conversation with her parents about her future; although it doesn’t prove fruitful, she decides to do something nonetheless, and messages her friends, inviting them to caroling to commemorate their time as students at Shirahamazaka High School.
Screenshots and Commentary
- This post was rushed out into the publishing stage, so this time around, I only have ten screenshots, and a shorter discussion. I’ll return at some point in the future to add an expanded discussion about Tari Tari Special and provide more screenshots, but for the present, this will hopefully be sufficient to illustrate what’s happening with the OVA, which, from the looks of things, have not been accessible to most English-speaking anime fans.
- As is befitting of the winter timeframe, sunlight takes on a whiter hue. The Tari Tari Special has not lost any of the visual fidelity that its TV incarnation did, but the lighting and mood tends towards the melancholy, subtly hinting that one stage of their journey is about to end sa everyone looks back on their past year.
- Sawa’s habit of squeezing Konatsu’s face whenever irritated with her makes a return: she’s growing frustrated that Konatsu is not helping the others clean, marking yet another hallmark from the original TV series. Truth be told, Tari Tari deserved more than just a seven-minute short as the form of a continuation; while the series ended on a decisive, satisfying note, I would’ve liked to see a movie or longer OVA that depicted what happens after graduation.
- Here, some junior students in the Wind Ensemble club are saying farewell to their seniors. I wonder who actually shelled out the 28000 yen to purchase this special edition Blu-Ray. However, a Blu-Ray for the series had already been available for sale, and for those who’ve already purchased the other volumes, buying this special edition set would be tantamount to spending roughly three hundred dollars just for the seven-minute special (as well as the other bonus features). Thus, the question becomes: is this OVA and a few other features worth the extra money?
- This screenshot nicely captures the beauty of the landscapes and skies of Tari Tari: the deep blue in the sky and the high-altitudes cirrus clouds convey the sense that the weather is going to become cooler and moody quite soon. Returning to the question raised by the previous bullet, the practical answer is “no”: three hundred dollars can net one a Chromebook, a pair of university textbooks, five titles at launch price, or a Cantonese Banquet for six, to name a few. Of course, the prudent thing to do is to save it, and this is the course of action I’d take.
- However, for some anime fans in Japan, the desire to have access to the OVA overrules other counterarguments. Back in the OVA, Wakana receives a message from Sawa, inviting her out for an activity. The use of lighting in this scene suggests that Wakana sees studying as something best done alone, so one can focus. Notice the use of a space-heater: contrasting my nation, where homes have centralised heating, in Asia, most homes just have air conditioning.
- Thus, in winter, things get a bit chilly even when the thermometer reads 12°C, although with due respect, it’s not truly cold until one experiences life at -40°C: even with centralised heating, going outside becomes quite difficult, doubly so if there’s windchill. Konatsu gets a similar message from Sawa, as well. It seems that everyone’s decided to study over their break, and while this is the proper thing to do, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break with friends every now and then.
- Wein and Taichi bring their spirits to their song: the OVA manages to find the means of bringing everyone’s unique points out in the space of seven minutes, reminding me of every character’s contributions to Tari Tari. The one logistical fault in the OVA is the fact that everyone manages to sing a new song to the level of quality that they did, despite having never practised at all.
- By this point in time, Wakana’s fully opened herself up to the Choir-and-sometimes-Badminton club, bringing sleigh bells and reindeer ears to help their song along. This song is remarkably warm, and the use of sleigh bells means that it feels like a Christmas song. We recall the release date: the Blu-Ray Special was probably intended to be ready just in time for the Winter Holidays in Japan.
- Thus ends a shorter talk for this OVA: I’ll return to regular programming next time, with a talk on Expelled from Paradise. Aside from being a pleasant addition to the Tari Tari series, the OVA also happens to be prohibitively inaccessible at present. I hope that things become more accessible in the near future, such that Tari Tari fans have a chance to check the special out and listen to “Itsumademo Kagayaki wo” in all of its glory.
It’s been almost 30 months since Tari Tari last aired, and although the OVA is only seven minutes, it was most welcoming to see everyone sing again in the present. The song is a remarkably gentle piece that has a very warm, slow pacing that simultaneously evokes a Christmas mood and recalls memories of why I enjoyed the series to the extent that I did. The OVA illustrates another facet of Sawa’s character, showing her as someone who takes the initiative to bring her friends together. In doing so, Sawa helps everyone create yet another precious memory of them having spent time together singing, suggesting that she is immensely grateful to have friends who care about her, and that she’s willing to be there for them, as well. On a superficial note, this adds to the list of justifications for why Sawa is my favourite Tari Tari character, and as far as contributions to the original anime go, this reinforces Sawa as someone who has a reasonably clear understanding of what her aspirations are.